Chris Farmand - 2013 40 Under 40 Honoree

Chris Farmand, CPA, CITP, MBA — 33
Investor Liaison, Chris Farmand + Company
Jacksonville, FL,

Education: University of Florida: BA Food & Resource Economics, University of North Florida: BA Accounting, University of North Florida: MBA
Professional Associations/Memberships: AICPA, FICPA
Hobbies: Swimming, Cycling, Running: in that order, Camping, Cooking

What are the key areas of your firm that have seen the greatest change in workflow over the past few years? Are you using automated workflow tools? Workflow has really moved to a paperless process. We are receiving most of our support via secure email or portal and working from there. We use Podio for our project management software. It allows the team to communicate on tasks and projects without bogging down our email.

Have you embraced cloud computing for your practice? Are you moving your clients to the cloud? As of June 5, 2012, our office solutions are 100% virtual. Prior to this we were a hybrid, some applications were in the cloud and others were hosted locally. I was fed up with being able to access only 70% of my office “on the go.” We are encouraging our customers to join us in the cloud. We offer hosting for our customers accounting software. This accomplishes two things: 1) introduces them to the cloud and 2) gives us real time access to the accounting records. It’s a win-win for all.  

On a broader scale, how do you see new technologies changing the accounting profession in the near term (3-5 years)? Technology is going to get bigger and bolder. The cloud is going to dominate software and CPA’s will have more options. I also believe that software “suites” are going to be less desirable then a “best in breed” selection. This means that CPA firms of all sizes must become agile in rolling our new software. They need to set up a testing ground to see what works for their customers.  

How mobile are you regarding your work? How have mobile devices and apps impacted your productivity and work-life balance? We are fans of mobile but we are bigger fans of the cloud. We use mobile where necessary and embrace it. I would say our cloud setup has far more positively impacted our productivity. When we add in some cool mobile apps, it a great team.

Have you found business success via social media, either via recognizable ROI, new customers, marketing or networking? Revenue, still working on this one. We are starting to see some promise in the brewery industry. We network daily with peers, mentors, prospects, through social media. Its been a resource to keep us focused.

What tips on social media do you think are essential, but perhaps missed, by professionals and small businesses? The biggest pitfall I encounter is professionals not embracing it. I learned to use social media by embracing it and correcting my mistakes. Social media is becoming more accepted in the accounting industry as a tool for collaboration and learning. In most outlets, information is shared so fast readers have little time stew over silly updates or comments. The more risk you take with social media the greater the reward.

What single piece of technology do you find the most important in your professional life? My cell phone. The darn thing is so good it scares me. It gives me access to the information I need.

Not including your current employer, what company do you most admire and why? MTA Optima and its founder Matthew Tol. Matthew has developed an amazing culture at this Australian based accounting firm. In my opinion, he has redefined the definition of autonomy in the workplace. Each team member is so invested in the cause, it all gets done.

What brand/model mobile phone do you use? Galaxy Nexus (Verizon)

Do you use a tablet for work purposes? Motorola Xoom

What is your favorite accounting mobile app, and why? Intuit Online Payroll; Its easy to use, responsive, full functionality of the web version.

How many monitors do you have on your desktop workstation? 2         


Read more about this year's 40 Under 40 Honorees.